We love hearing about your martial arts stories and each month we post an interview with the martial artists of the world.
Kicking off our first ‘Martial Artist of the Month’ interview for 2015, we chat to Raijin Fightwear sponsored, BJJ competitor and martial arts enthusiast, Nicholle Stoller.
Please can you tell us a bit about yourself?
My name is Nicholle Stoller. I grew up in Portland, Oregon USA and currently live in Nashville, Tennessee USA. I love to travel and have so far been to 11 countries with more plans to travel in the future. My favorite thing to do when I visit another country is to walk until I smell food, sit down, and eat while observing what is going on around me.
I write poetry, play classical piano, and keep a very orderly bookshelf organized by subject matter and author last name. I love to climb practically anything: ropes, rocks, statues, trees, mountains, etc. I took my first college class when I was 11 and started full time college when I was 15. I used to be a fat nerd. Now I’m a skinny nerd.
I love to do karaoke without alcohol and run around barefoot outside. My dog, Dante, is always with me. People never believe me when I try to tell them he is a trained killer. Maybe it’s the fact that he’s a teacup poodle who performs tricks to get love from everyone he meets?
Well that is my random hodgepodge of facts. Hopefully it was entertaining!
How old were you when you got into martial arts and what made you want to learn?
I believe I was 13 or 14 when I first started my martial arts journey. I don’t really remember what my reasons were for starting, but I like a challenge. I was never any good with group sports, but the martial arts just fit me.
Which martial art did you learn first?
I first started learning Tae Kwon Do and then delved into Hapkido and Jeet Kune Do. After moving to Nashville, I started learning Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Muay Thai, and Judo.
Have you entered any competitions or done any demonstrations?
I did not compete until I reached adulthood. I now compete frequently at local and international Brazilian Jiu Jitsu tournaments. As of this writing, I am two weeks away from flying to Portugal for the European Championships.
Which is your favorite weapon and why?
I love the Tonfa because of the versatility and power I can pack with it. It is an easy weapon to carry and offers me some extra security while still not perceived as being overtly threatening.
Which martial arts are you currently studying and at which clubs?
I currently train in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, and Muay Thai at Nashville Mixed Martial Arts. I like that my school keeps the martial art disciplines separate and distinct from one another through individual training sessions. My primary focus is Brazilian Jiu Jitsu but I am slowly picking up on Muay Thai through consistent weekly lessons with our head instructor.
Which is your favourite technique?
My favorite technique changes frequently because I am always learning. As of this moment, my favorite technique is called a loop choke. It takes fairly non-threatening grip of my opponents lapel and suddenly becomes a very boa constrictor like choke.
Who inspires you in the martial arts world?
I have to give a couple answers.
My instructor, Shawn Hammonds, has been overseeing my training in Nashville and words just can not describe how he has changed my life!
My team mates. Without my team mates and the martial arts community, I would not have stayed past my first week of training. Everything I have accomplished in my life, I have done alone and never had realized the power in having a team to back me up. Without my team, I would be nothing. I am simply a reflection of every person I have ever sparred or trained with.
What are you most proud of in your martial arts career?
I decided that even if I loose a match, it will be because my opponent was more skilled than me, but never because I gave up in my spirit. If I lost to a more skilled opponent, that is fine because I can train more and then meet them again. I have never quit!
Have you any advice to give to other martial artists out there?
If you are just starting out, enjoy the confusion and uncertainty. There is no pressure on you to know anything so you cannot be stupid. I sometimes miss the days when I could get away with not knowing something!
If you have trained for a while, know that you will never know everything. The masters I speak with have all told me that they learn new things every day. Do not give in to frustration or monotony.
You can’t compare your training with that of others. Be inspired for sure, but you lead different lives and there is no way to compare the two of you. If you are able to train twice a week, do your very best and make the most of those two sessions. If you can train twice a day, make the most of that time and do not waste it or look down on someone who does not do the same as you.
Be excellent to one another! We are a family and although people try to make arguments to cause division, at our hearts we are the same!
What’s your favourite martial arts film?
Shall I be cliché and say “Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon”? Too late, I already said it!
Thank you very much, Nicholle, for your time!
If you’d like to be considered for Martial Artist of the Month , be sure to drop us an email.